People often tell me that I look scary. With my thick eyebrows, a sometimes expressionless face, glaring eyes and a somewhat athletic frame, some can see me as an intimidating presence. However, as any young children who have spent at least ten minutes with me can affirm, my seemingly hard and tough exterior quickly fades when I smile. I am extremely friendly and children love me; I am a testament to the adage that looks can be deceiving.
This past year, I had two major opportunities to work with children; in the spring, I was a mentor and friend for a group of elementary school students as a part of my afternoon community service project, and in the summer, I was a swimming instructor for young beginners. When it comes to working with children, I have found their uncaring exuberance to be impossibly contagious; whether they are chasing me around, pulling me down to the floor or underwater, or climbing me like a tree, I find myself laughing away every second of my time with them. When I am with children, I devote all my attention to them to make sure that they are happy and safe. More importantly, the children have allowed me to discover my inner child.
In many ways, this inner child has helped me in my interaction with my peers at school. Whenever I am having a hard time or a tough day, I reflect on my experiences with children, and when I remind myself of their exuberance, I can relax and go back to my peaceful self.